Ruth Allbon Wedding Dress

Contributed by: Rocky Hill War Memorial Museum

Full Length Wedding Dress Front of Wedding Dress Close-up of Tuck detail. Close-up of sleeve detail. Close-up of button loops. Detail of back of dress. Close-up of buttons.
  • Australian dress register ID:

    539
  • Owner:

    Rocky Hill War Memorial Museum
  • Owner registration number:

    2009/356A
  • Date range:

    1945
  • Place of origin:

    Sydney, NSW, Australia
  • Gender:

    Female
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Object information

Significance statement

Ruth Eason Pontifex Shorthouse and Signalman Charles Joseph Malden Allbon married in St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Chatswood, New South Wales, 5th May 1945. They met during the Second World War when both worked at Railway House in Sydney. When Charles went to New Guinea in 1943, they continued to correspond and became engaged by mail. Charles sent the money to Ruth for the engagement ring while still on active service in New Guinea. Charles and Ruth moved to Goulburn in 1958. Charles was Stores Manager for the Railway Workshops, Goulburn and w ould travel regularly through the area visiting other stores. Charles and Ruth had one child, Kerry, and were married for 46 years.

The incidence of marriages prior to and during the Second World War was exceedingly high. The first six months of 1940 produced the highest marriage rate on record in Victoria. The garment represents the social conventions of the era when marriage was embarked upon due to the realisation that people needed to make the most of their time together under perilous circumstances.

Austerity measures were very much in effect during the war, and Ruth was very lucky to have been able to acquire the material and have a dressmaker manufacture her wedding dress.

 

Author: Carol Olsen, 7 June 2014.

Description

Full length cream wedding dress, with fitted bodice and circular skirt. It has a V neck, decorated with tucks and pleated frill - 6 rows of tucks and finely pleated frills. It has a waist band and a shaped belt (cumberbund) with 4 small rouleau loops. Fabric is possibly rayon. The back of the dress is fastened with 26 rouleau loops and buttons. The buttons are not attached to the dress, but are stored with the dress (2 are missing).

The shoulders have square shoulder pads to give the look of the 1940's. It has short sleeves with 3 tucks.  The skirt is a ¾ circular skirt, with panels of small triangular insertions on the bottom left and right. It is finished with a pleated frill on the edge of the skirt. The width of the fabric is 1120mm.

It has a petticoat of moire taffeta (watered) with a circular skirt. the top has shoe string straps with 8 hooks and eyes fastened at the back. There is a tear at the back underneath the row of hooks and eyes. The petticoat is the width of a ½ circle. 

 

History and Provenance

Ruth Eason Pontifex Shorthouse married Signalman Charles Joseph Malden Allbon in St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Chatswood, NSW on 5th May 1945.  They met during the World War Two when they were both working at Railway House in Sydney.  When Charles went to New Guinea in 1943, they continued to correspond and they became engaged by mail. Charles sent the money to Ruth for the engagement ring while he was still on active service in New Guinea. 

Charles and Ruth moved to Goulburn in 1958 and they resided at 57 Prince Street, Goulburn. Charles was the Stores Manager for the Railway Workshops in Goulburn and would travel regularly through the area visiting other stores. 

Charles and Ruth had one child, Kerry, and were married for 46 years.

Births, deaths, marriages, children or family information

Registration No: 8344/1945

Groom: Allbon, Charles Joseph Malden

Bride: Ruth Eason Pontifex Shorthouse District, Chatswood

Where did this information come from?

This infomation was supplied by their daughter, Kerry Gersback.

  1. Place of origin:

    Sydney, NSW, Australia

  2. Owned by:

    This wedding dress was worn by Miss Ruth Shorthouse when she married Signalman Charles Allbon NX98707 in St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Chatswood, NSW  on 5th May 1945.

  3. Worn by:

    Worn by Miss Ruth Shorthouse on her marriage to Charles Joseph Allbon on 5th May 1945.

  4. Occasion(s):

    Worn by Miss Ruth Shorthouse on her marriage to Charles Allbon on 5th May 1945.

  5. Place:

    St Andrew's Presbyterian Church, Chatswood.

Trimmings / Decoration

Tucking

The short sleeves have 3 tucks on the top of the sleeve.

Fibre / Weave

We think the fabric of the wedding dress is rayon, but this is inconclusive.

  1. Natural dye
  2. Synthetic dye

Manufacture

  1. Hand sewn
  2. Machine sewn
  3. Knitted
  4. Other

Cut

  1. Bias
  2. Straight

Fastenings

The wedding dress is fastened at the back with 26 rouleau loops and covered buttons.  The fabric belt has 4 rouleau loops and covered buttons.  The petticoat has 8 hook and eye fasteners on the back of the garment.

  1. Hook and eye
  2. Lacing
  3. Buttons
  4. Zip
  5. Drawstring

Stiffening / Lining / Padding

The shoulders of the wedding dress have square shoulderpads attached.

Measurements

dress petticoat
Girth
Neck 600 mm
Chest 800 mm
Waist 740 mm
Hem circumference 3000 mm
Vertical
Front neck to hem 1310 mm
Front waist to hem 1125 mm
Back neck to hem 1550 mm
Back waist to hem 1240 mm
Sleeve length 230 mm
Horizontal
Neck to sleeve head 100 mm
Cross back 300 mm
Underarm to underarm 350 mm
Fabric width 1120 mm
Convert to inches

Condition

State

  1. Excellent
  2. Good
  3. Fair
  4. Poor

Damage

  1. Parts missing
  2. Torn

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